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Heritability and Selection on Tarsus Length in the Pied Flycatcher (Ficedula hypoleuca)

Rauno V. Alatalo and Arne Lundberg
Evolution
Vol. 40, No. 3 (May, 1986), pp. 574-583
DOI: 10.2307/2408578
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2408578
Page Count: 10
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Since scans are not currently available to screen readers, please contact JSTOR User Support for access. We'll provide a PDF copy for your screen reader.
Heritability and Selection on Tarsus Length in the Pied Flycatcher (Ficedula hypoleuca)
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Abstract

The heritability estimate (±SE) for tarsus length in the pied flycatcher is 0.53 ± 0.10, based on mother-offspring regressions. The heritability is almost the same (0.50 ± 0.22) for offspring transferred to other nests and reared by foster parents, whereas there is no resemblance (0.04 ± 0.23) between the offspring and their foster mothers. Hence, the nest environment does not affect parent-offspring resemblance. However, a full-sib correlation yields an estimate of the heritability twice as high as the parent-offspring regression did, indicating that shared environment effects, which are not correlated with the tarsus length of parents, must be important. An environmental deviation due to food factors affecting tarsus length is demonstrated. The most important food factors are probably associated with 1) polygyny, which leads to reduced paternal feeding at secondary nests, 2) high breeding density, and 3) progress of the breeding season. All three are associated with reductions in offspring mean tarsus length. We estimate selection on tarsus length for the major components of lifetime reproductive success. Offspring with the shortest tarsi have reduced survival from fledging until breeding, and males with tarsus length close to the mean are most successful in attracting mates. Clutch size increases with female tarsus length, except for individuals with very long tarsi. In general, directional selection is weak, but stabilizing selection is rather strong for survival and male mating success.

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